Local govt commission to be set up soon | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 25, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 25, 2008

Local govt commission to be set up soon

The caretaker government has moved to form the much-anticipated Local Government Commission (LGC), in an effort to free local government administrations from absolute subjugation to central government's whims.
"We have started the process of forming the commission and hope it will be formed as soon as possible," LGRD Adviser Anwarul Iqbal told The Daily Star yesterday.
He said his ministry is now looking for an office for the LGC.
President Iajuddin Ahmed on May 11 promulgated an ordinance regarding formation of the LGC with provisions designed to strengthen local government institutions, and to make them dynamic and accountable to the people.
The new law empowers the commission to draw up recommendations for strengthening the local government system. It also allows the commission to probe alleged financial and administrative irregularities in the system, and to ask the central government to take actions against the accused.
Formation of an LGC was being discussed since 1992, but no elected partisan government since then initiated any step to form the commission.
Rather, successive elected governments in the last 15 years slapped numerous unwarranted restrictions on local government administrations by issuing frequent orders and directives.
Against such a backdrop, the current military backed caretaker government made its move to strengthen the local government system in an effort to ensure proper decentralisation of power.
The caretaker government already incorporated provisions in newly promulgated laws governing city corporations and municipalities that limit the central government's supervisory power over those local government administrations.
According to those laws, the LGRD ministry, which is the custodian of the local government system, will have to consult with the LGC before issuing any instruction or before formulating rules regarding functions of city corporations and municipalities.
The laws also stipulate that the central government will have to consult with the LGC for establishing new city corporations or municipalities, and for re-demarcating the jurisdictions of the existing ones.
Without prior consultation with the LGC, the central government may not remove any mayor or councillor of city corporations or municipalities even on grounds of negligence in duty or moral turpitude, the new laws say.
Sources in the LGRD ministry said the same provisions might also be incorporated in the fresh laws being prepared for union, upazila and zila parishads.
The new law on formation of LGC stipulates that persons having experience in public administration, particularly in the local government system, public funds, and accounts, will be appointed as chairmen and members of the commission.
The president will appoint for a three-year term the chairman and two members of the commission from a panel of nominees forwarded by a selection committee.
The commission will be independent in exercising its power. Any member of the commission shall not be removed from the office in manners and on grounds other than those followed to remove a Supreme Court judge, the law says.
The LGC may exercise the power of a court to summon anyone before it to give statements, and may also ask for records and documents held by any individual or institution.

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